Killer Story
February 13, 2023

Book Review

Killer Story

reviewed by Cara DiCostanzo



“Journalism without a moral position is impossible. Every journalist is a moralist. It’s unavoidable.”
 – Marguerite Duras

Petra Kovach is a terrible person and an even more terrible journalist. To save her job at The Clarion, a small Boston newspaper, she will out you if you are gay, falsely accuse you of murder, break into your house or accuse you of having a sexual relationship with your teenage daughter. If it helps her keep her job or get more interest in her podcast, she will ruin your life with no regrets. Petra is the main character in Killer Story and one of the most unlikeable characters I have read lately. Not only is she an unreliable narrator but has no moral clause as a journalist. That being said, Killer Story is actually a brilliant book if you can look past the female main character. And the focus becomes her and her terrible choices, rather than who murdered Olivia Anderson, an alt-right podcaster at Harvard with hateful views on immigrants, homosexuals or anyone else she decides might be worthy of her disdain. 

It has been two years since Olivia has been killed. Petra was very close friends with her until Olivia started spewing hate in the name of patriots everywhere. She even outs a victim of rape who is accusing her friend of the crime. There are lots of people who would have a reason to hurt her, but the blame has landed on a professor at Harvard, that she was having an affair with. Unfortunately, they fail to convict him but he is believed by all of Olivia’s zealous fans to be the murderer and they harass him enough to go into hiding. Or it could be her boyfriend, who Petra speculates is gay, and that Olivia was going to out him. Or her stepfather, whom Petra believes had a sexual relationship with Olivia when she was just 14. When it turns out Petra’s job may be made redundant (3 times in so many years), she tells her boss, Dave, that she may have a lead on the murder of Olivia and that is going to be an enormous story. He runs with her “killer” story and she becomes even more embroiled in all the lies she tells. Even roping in her lovable fiance, think Adrian Grenier from The Devil Wears Prada, who may lose his own job in helping her. 

What is Petra’s plan? She pitches a podcast about the cold case murder of Olivia. Though most believe they solved the case with the Harvard Professor as the murderer, Petra believes the killer is still out there and that it had to do with a podcast that Olivia had teased three days before her death. When she meets Olivia’s brother, he offers her information off the record and asks her not to use him as the source. But what is a story without a named source? She uses it anyway and starts destroying lives. 

When I first started this book, I wasn’t as focused on the mystery as I was on how this journalist could live with herself. It was a very uncomfortable few chapters of seeing Petra Kovach in action. Once I absorbed myself in the mystery, I became more entrenched and unable to put the book down. I hoped for two things; for Petra to get her comeuppance and for the mystery of who killed Olivia Anderson to be solved. Only one of those actually happened. I had previously read Matt Witten’s The Necklace so I know he writes a good story and this was really enjoyable to read once you understand that none of the characters are likable and it is supposed to be that way.

Killer Story is available at:


Psychological Thriller Features